COVID-19: Information for Older Adults

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It is strongly recommended that people over 65 stay home (self-isolate). The Government of Ontario is also strongly recommending that people who have compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, self-isolate and get help with essential errands. 


5 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself

Older adults have an increased risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19.  There are general infection prevention and control measures that should be used to decrease the spread and impact of the disease.  In addition to these here are 5 things older adults can do to protect themselves:

  • Monitor Your Symptoms
  • Wash Your Hands for 20 Seconds
  • Cover Your Cough and Sneeze
  • Disinfect Surfaces
  • Stay at Home as Much as Possible



With older adults being at higher risk of more severe outcomes from COVID-19, it is important that they:

  • Avoid all non-essential travel.
  • Avoid local public transportation if possible, as it is difficult to physically distance from others.

For more information visit the Travel page.


If You’re Not Feeling Well

If you are not feeling well and think you may have COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Call the TBDHU at (807) 625-5900 or Toll-Free at 1 (888) 294-6630.
  • Call 911 if you are in need of immediate medical attention.


Health Care Provider Appointments

If you need to see your Health Care Provider (ie: Doctor, Nurse Practitioner, etc.):

  • Call your Health Care Provider first before attending your appointment to see how they will continue with the appointment.
  • If you are unable to access your Health Care Provider for your appointments and you need medical attention, you can try Cover.Health which is an online (virtual health) walk in clinic.


Ask for Help

  • Ask for help getting essential supplies to last the 14 days.
  • Check with your local pharmacy and grocery store for special senior hours and/or delivery options.
  • If you have a favourite restaurant call to see if they offer senior discounts, take-out and/or delivery.
  • Call 211 or visit for services available for older adults in your area such as food banks, grocery stores, taxes, mental health services and so forth.


Food Programs for Older Adults

These are some free/low cost meal or food hamper options for older adults in need.  Things are constantly changing - call 211 or visit to find out more.

* Note: Please send us a direct message if you know of other food programs in the Thunder Bay District that we may not be aware of.

    For a printable copy of this information, please see the Additional Resources section below.


    Dealing with Stress and Feeling Safe

    Sometimes during a crisis, people can feel stressed. To help deal with stress do things to support yourself:

    • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories.
    • Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
    • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals and drink lots of fluids.
    • Try to get some fresh air and sunlight daily by opening curtains and or windows.
    • Try some activities you enjoy.  For information on At-Home Activity Kits for care providers and seniors, check out the information in this poster
    • Connect with others over the phone or by social media. Check out the service "A Friendly Voice" for seniors who may be feeling lonely or isolated and want to talk to someone.
    • Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
    • Remember, that this situation will pass and life will return to normal.


    Caring for Older Adults

    • If you live with or know any older adults, ask how you can help them.
      • See if they need anything picked up for them, such as medication refills, groceries, cleaning products or other supplies they may need.
      • Ask if they need any meals prepared, a dog walked, or if there is anything else you can do for them.
    • Respect their ability to make decisions about their needs.
    • Phone calls, texts or other ways people prefer to communicate can be used to just chat or see how they are doing will help them to feel connected.
    • Talking about positive things will help to alleviate stress and fear.
    • DO NOT VISIT if you are not feeling well for any reason or if you have travelled in the last 14 days.



    Additional Resources

    What Older Adults Need to Know about COVID-19 (including list of Food Programs) - Thunder Bay and Surrounding Areas (English PDF)

    What Older Adults Need to Know about COVID-19 (including list of Food Programs) - District Communities (English PDF)

    Age Friendly Thunder Bay COVID-19 Newsletters

    How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19 for Older Adults and People with Chronic Medical Conditions and Weakened Immune Systems (Public Health Ontario - English PDF)

    Things to Do While Physical Distancing for Older Adults (English PDF)

    Mental Wellness during COVID-19 for Elders and Seniors (English PDF)

    Article - Older People Dealing with Self-Isolation (English PDF)

    At-Home Activity Kits for Care Providers and Seniors (English PDF)

    Tips for how to improve communication when talking on the phone with someone who has a hearing loss (PDF)

    Watch TBDHU's Educational Videos on COVID-19 on your television on the following channels:

    • TBaytel On Demand (OnDemand- Local Content- COVID-19- Covid19 Tips)
    • Shaw Channel 10 and 105 (for those with BlueSky Boxes)
    Last Updated: 03/06/2020